Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Singalonga Bastard Trenching

Today I are been mostly Bastard Trenching, aka Double Digging but the old name is more appropriate in, oh, so many ways.

Not familiar with Bastard Trenching? Well, let's ask Eddie Cochran to explain....

3 Steps to Bastard Trenching

Now there are three steps to Bastard Trenching
Just listen and you will plainly see
And as life travels on
And things don't grow at all
Just follow Steps 1, 2 and 3

Step 1 - You dig a trench so deeply
Step 2 - You fill it full of old poo
Step 3 - you fill it in again
Now that sure seems like Bastard Trenching to me

The formula for Bastard Trenching is very simple
Just follow the rules and you will see
And as life travels on
And things grow tall and strong
Just follow Steps 1, 2 and 3

Step 1 - You dig a trench so deeply

Step 2 -You fill it full of old poo

Step 3 - you fill it in again

Success guaranteed!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tidying up & bringing in

No sign of winter yet, thank goodness. This time last year we were only 10 days away from a massive dump of snow and seriously sub-zero temperatures. I recall driving up the M1 and seeing -14C on the dashboard display. By contrast, greenhouse temperatures so far are positively balmy.Hope this isn't tempting fate! Don't blame me, he added hastily, if it all goes pear-shaped.

Nevertheless it seemed prudent to start bringing in stuff which has been on the patio all summer. Everything has been cut back a bit and watering has virtually stopped. But they haven't given up on flowering.
I've also got some salad leaves on the go (Radicchio & Chard) and am about to sow some winter lettuce (in November!).

Meanwhile the Wollemi Pine looks entirely happy; the recommendation is to not repot it until the Spring.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


At last, some sunshine to break us free from the gloom and murk we've mostly had for the last few weeks. And so mild; look at this -

working in shirt-sleeves in mid November. I'm not normally this hardy.

I love it on days like today, when the sky is just wall-to-wall clear blue. My allotment site is backed with a big escarpment slope of mature trees and at this time of year, seen against the blue sky, they look fantatstic.
But it wasn't all lollygagging about doing a Fotherington-Tomas (Hello trees, Hello sky); I did get a couple of dozen Wallflowers in, for a bit of colour in Spring.

And, investing for the future (daft phrase - you can't invest for the past or present, by definition) I've put in another six Asparagus crowns, to supplement the dozen or so which are in already. We like Asparagus! These latest six -

you'll have to take on trust that they're in there because this is essentially just a picture of bare earth - will take a couple of years to start producing much but then they should last for twenty years (by which time I'll be 81 !!) Ye Gods, best not think too hard about that.

Leeks are still going strong, ditto red cabbage.
And today I had what are probably the last two raspberries.

Not enough to make a dish of raspers and cream, but nice anyway.

Finally, I see that it's the allotmenters trade union AGM next Monday.

At least they've made some effort to publicise it this time. With some trepidation (it's a meeting; I don't do meetings now I've retired!) I'm thinking of going to it.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

You won't find this on an allotment

When I retired a couple of weeks ago my friends at work, knowing of my botanical past, chose an excellent leaving present.

They bought me a Wollemi Pine.

Until 1994 the Wollemi Pine was known only from the fossil record, from as long as 200 million years ago. Even today there are fewer than 100 trees in the wild, in a closely protected site in Australia. But they've been successfully propagated and sold on, and now I have one.Link
Here it is.

It seems quite hardy and unfussy, although it doesn't like wet feet. I feel very privileged to have it and up for the challenge of making sure it thrives. For a botanist it's like having a real live dinosaur in the garden.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Wot, no Garlic?

I seem to have missed the garlic boat. I went to the garden centre today to buy the usual three or four bulbs to start off in the autumn, because they do best after being exposed to a spell of cold weather during winter (although I've sometimes cheated by shoving them in the fridge for a fortnight).

Nary a garlic to be seen. Sold Out. Can't get any more. Sob. What's a fella to do?

I notice that Marshalls are offering garlic for planting in the spring. I guess I'll have to fall back on that.

Funny old world if you can't get garlic; I blame they vampires, putting a curse on the crop to save their own skins.